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Conservativeness is issue in District 21

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It's no secret that Davis County politics often boil down to a contest of conservativeness.

And the Republican primary for Senate District 21 in northern Davis County is no exception.Veteran incumbent David H. Steele, a respected moderate, is campaigning on a platform of "responsible conservatism." His opponent, Jeffrey Ostler, says he is the true conservative candidate and that Steele is simply too liberal for Davis County. Ostler ran against Steele four years ago as the Independent American Party candidate.

The true test will be who shows up to vote at the June 23 primary. If interest is low, and it often is in non-presidential-year elections, the better-organized conservatives tend to be better at getting out the vote.

"If the moderates stay home, David is in real trouble," said one GOP senator. "He is vulnerable if the turnout is light, as are all moderate candidates."

The Republican primary winner will be the only candidates on the ballot in November.

The district covers north Layton, except for a small section north of 2350 North and west of Easy Street; Clearfield; Syracuse; West Point; Clinton and South Weber. The district's southern boundary in Layton is Gentile Street west of I-15, Gordon Avenue from I-15 to Fairfield Street, and the North Fork of Kays Creek east to the county line.

Jeffrey Ostler (R)

Age: 48

Address: 2470 N. Fairfield Road, Layton

Occupation: Business owner

Personal: Married with nine children

Experience: National GOP delegate in 1996

Main issue of campaign: "The issue is the vast philosophical difference between myself and the incumbent. That is mostly to do with the fact I am much more conservative and he is much more liberal. I believe I represent the district much much better in terms of political beliefs."

Legacy Highway: "I support the idea of doing something about the transportation problems. There are ways to do it without a second highway. We should look at the options, and some options will be less costly and less intrusive to the environment and property owners that might be damaged. We have not evaluated all options."

Economic development: "Lower taxes have a lot to do with economic development, and second, we could eliminate a lot of the stifling regulations that make it difficult for small businesses."

Open space preservation: No comment.

Davis Conference Center: No comment.

Tidbit: Plays in a soft rock band at weddings and proms.

David H. Steele (R)

Age: 48

Address: 3367 W. 400 North, West Point

Occupation: Public education administrator

Personal: Married with seven children

Experience: 12 years in state Senate

Main issue of campaign: "The main issues in Davis County are dealing with growth, maintaining the quality of education and providing safe communities."

Legacy Highway: "I don't support a toll road for Davis County, but I do support alternate methods like additional lanes and mass transit. And I do support a second highway that would not be a toll road. But we also have to provide good east-west transportation. We cannot just be focused on one direction."

Economic development: "Preserving our economy is most important. We have enjoyed a robust economy for such a long time, and we need to preserve that with an equitable tax structure and to continue to attract clean businesses and higher-paying jobs. Our higher education system is a key component of that economic engine."

Open space preservation: "We will, with good planning, be able to provide good housing and some of the qualities of life people enjoy, things like pastures and fields. We need corridors of pleasure and enjoyment. We need Antelope Island and trail systems for biking and walking. We have to maintain places even in busy areas where people can enjoy the outdoors."

Davis Conference Center: "I support the conference center. There is not a single place in Davis County where large groups can meet. The school district cannot even host all of its teachers in one central location."

Tidbit: Directs the adult education program for Davis School District.